I have such a special treat for you all today!~
I wanted to share with you the latest novel by my wonderfully talented writing friend Laura Frantz. Frantz is known for her sweeping 18th century novels that capture the heart and grit of early America.
Not only are her novels great historical stories, they also have riveting themes of faith, love, redemption and overcoming hardships running through them. No matter what befalls the characters, I am always glad to know that Laura will see them through their trials and tribulations and they’ll come away from them better and stronger people because of them.
Laura’s latest book is the first installment of her Ballantyne Legacy, Love’s Reckoning, which beings in the 1780s in a dark and lonely winter in Pennsylvania.
Through her wonderfully woven words, Laura introduces us to Eden Lee, whose home is not the happily and idyllic frontier fantasy you might imagine.
Life is hard for the Lee’s, led by their disgruntled blacksmith father Liege Lee, who is in need of an apprentice in his shop.
Enter Scottish immigrant and apprentice Silas Ballantyne, whose hope is to do his time, finish his apprenticeship, and head further west to find his fortune.
While there are plenty of moments of reflection, beautiful landscapes and gorgeous dresses to be swooned over in this novel, there is also a nicely paced story line of love, deceit, heartbreak and redemption. Nothing is easy for any of these characters, and their unique circumstances and the way they go through life are at once plausible for the time and relateable to our modern lives. Laura shows wonderfully how bitterness and greed can bleed the joy and comfort out of a family, how hard sacrifices can pay off, even if there are years to wait, and how God doesn’t stop guiding your life, even when things look their bleakest.
I might also add that this book contains Frantz’s most intimidating villain! And it’s a woman. Because we all know there isn’t much to top a woman’s scorn! I literally worried for our heroine Eden and felt I had to ‘read her through it.’
I wont give much more of the plot away, because I would love for you to read this novel yourself. All I will say is….there’s ice skating! Fanciness and finery! Ex-Quakers! A Scotsman! Fiddle music! Oh my! Our heroine is also a weaver, so I know many of my fiber loving friends here will love her for that.
Laura has so very graciously agreed to share with us a bit of behind-the-scenes info on her book and writing, and also one lucky winner will receive a copy of the book! To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment here on this post! Be sure to share the giveaway with your family and friends! The more the merrier!~
|The amazing cover of Laura’s latest book is one of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen! Love the autumn colors…
And now a little bit from Laura Frantz:
1) Your new book, Love’s Reckoning is the first in a series of four about the Ballantyne family. What made you decide to do a series, since all of your previous books are stand-alone volumes?
I have a wonderful editor who studies market trends and keeps a close watch on what readers want and so she suggested a family legacy series. I’d never considered doing one till then and had to give it a great deal of thought before making the commitment. When she suggested it be based in Pennsylvania instead of Kentucky, I was thrilled as Pennsylvania is so rich in history. And it didn’t hurt that my hero, Daniel Boone, came from there! But I do believe a series is more complicated than a stand alone novel as you have to age characters and continue themes over several books instead of only one, etc.
2) What makes your characters Eden and Silas different from the standard hero and heroine?
In popular literature today, especially historical fiction, it’s common to have a feisty, reckless, take charge kind of heroine. A modern day woman clad in historical costume. But I wanted to craft another kind, one who is more true to the time period in which she lived and the circumstances life wrought for her. A woman whose temperament doesn’t match her hair color:) My Eden Lee is quiet and gentle and very conventional. My hero is also very true to the times, or so I hope. Silas Ballantyne is an apprentice from Scotland, one of many immigrants who came to America in the 18th-century, looking for a better life.
3) This book, like your previous works, takes place in the 18th century. What is it about that time that intrigues you most?
Oh, it was a deliciously rich, earthy, sensual, passionate time with little of the prudishness that came into play in the 19th-century. I mean, colonial women didn’t wear underwear – though they did wear many layers! Everything was seething with change and revolution and unrest. Great novel fodder.
4) Although you’ve always been a writer at heart, you had another career and then devoted yourself to raising your two sons for many years before you were published. What made you finally take the brave step to complete your novel and get published? How has your life changed because of becoming a published author?
Great questions, Heather. Yes, I was a teacher, a social worker, homeschooling mom, etc. Though I’ve written stories since I was 7 years old, I took 5 years off when my boys were small as they needed all of me. And then when I returned to writing, my brother prodded me to finish the story I was working on (my debut novel, The Frontiersman’s Daughter) and submit it to publishers. I didn’t think anything would ever come of it but within about 6 months I was contacted by my current publisher and contracted. I didn’t have a literary agent at the time so it was something of a miracle.
Life changes tremendously after publication. Marketing and reader contact is a huge part of being an author now, as is dealing with Amazon reviews and other pulse-pounding things. It’s often difficult to strike a balance between a normal life and the writing life as publishing tends to be very consuming. You’re always releasing one book, researching another, and doing edits on yet another. When I leave my desk at the end of the day, my work is never done. But thankfully, there is joy in the work. If writing wasn’t my passion, I couldn’t do it. And I realize this is just a season in my life which I need to embrace because one day I’ll be too old to hold a pen and others will come and take my place!
Once again– MANY thanks to Laura for her time in answering a few questions and generously giving away a copy of her book! I hope all of you get a chance to read her novel, and let me know what you think when you’re done! Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter for a chance to win your own copy~
CONTEST RUNS THROUGH FRIDAY OCT 12!